Idea Of The Day

Churchillian Defiance

Military campaigns are not won by rhetoric.Yet immediately after the United States and Britain began their bombardment of Taliban installations yesterday, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair aired their strongest statements of intent about the conduct of their campaign against the al-Qaida. Like Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who several weeks ago told reporters that he had found inspiration in the words of Winston Churchill during World War II, the two men drew upon the rhetoric of the wartime leader.

Bush: “Since Sept. 11 an entire generation of young Americans has gained new understanding of the value of freedom and its cost in duty and in sacrifice. The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.”

Blair: “We waited so that those responsible could be yielded up by those shielding them. That offer was refused. We have now no choice, so we will act and our determination in acting is total: We will not let up or rest until our objectives are met in full.”

Both addresses drew from Churchill’s defiant speech to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.